Written by Hannah Hume, Bhutanese Teens Ministry Coordinator
At Mission Adelante we value relationships. In fact, we believe that effective ministry is relational at its core. You could try to minister without relationship, but effective ministry that transforms hearts and overflows into community transformation cannot happen without relationships.
As followers of Jesus, we believe that our highest calling is to make disciples of Jesus, and disciple making must be a relational endeavor. Think back to the very first disciples to exist: Peter, John,....How did they become disciples? Were they wooed by impressive worship sets complete with guitar and drums? Did they memorize a catechism? No. They were invited into a relationship with Jesus. Jesus said, “Follow me,” and they followed him, talked with Him, ate with Him, watched Him do ministry, listened to Him teach, and began to minister themselves while He observed and coached. All of these are highly relational activities.
That’s the kind of discipleship we want to practice! However, it doesn’t take long to realize the impossibility for our staff, by ourselves, to live relationally with those in our neighborhood the way Jesus modeled. Sheer numbers prevent it. That’s where our volunteers come in.
Relationships come at a cost. They take time and they require risk and emotional investment. However, they are the means God uses to transform us and the world around us for His glory. Often, our volunteers become such good friends with our program participants that they end up feeling like family around one another. They share meals, celebrate birthdays, and help one another with errands and chores like transportation to appointments, or moving. As people unite across cultures and languages it speaks volumes about Christ’s incarnational love, and it’s not uncommon for people from other places to begin a relationship with Jesus for themselves after experiencing friendship and community with someone they met at Mission Adelante.
When we live in relationships with one another our patterns and perspectives are challenged, our capacity to love grows, and we become healthier, more inspired, more whole. Whole people, in love with Jesus and living in community on mission together. That is the mark of effective ministry. Ministry that truly transforms.